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Gaming - Esoterrorists

The last two weeks we've been playing Esoterrorists. It's modern day GUMSHOE in which a secret organisation, Ordo Veritatas, attempts to defeat and cover up the machinations of the Esoterrorists, magic wielding, membrane-busting evil dudes.

This scenario was set in Helmand Province in Afghanistan and was a chance to try out the expanded combat options from the Esoterror Factbook. A small team of soldiers was set out to investigate a field hospital where strange things were happening. It was a partially improvised game so we could spend investigation points to make things be true, such as the presence of a tunnel in some ruins (architecture) or a way of suppressing magical comms interference using Fourier analysis and noise reduction (2 points of electronic surveillance, one of data analysis).

It was basically an extended combat mission for players who don't necessarily like that kind of thing but there was a 3:16 vibe and banter and a healthy team spirit as well as interest in the "veil out" (the OV term for cover up). And the new rules worked very well, spencerpine in particular made full use of sniping rules by taking a score of 28 in shooting and showing what an asset a tooled up sniper can be. We used the fully-automatic, critical hits, techno-macho bullshit, grenades, called shots and end of comabt refresh rules, the whole shebang really. There were moments of insane bravery such as pushing a grenade down a bad guy's trousers and then throwing him to the floor, pushing a zombie's head in the way of automatic fire and amazing called shots, shooting the driver of an armoured jeep through the back of it, just the kind of rough and tumble the genre demands.

In all, a very enjoyable couple of sessions.

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Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
meme_machine
Feb. 19th, 2010 12:55 pm (UTC)
That sounds really great, and also really intriguing. The use of investigation points to make things true (what FATE calls "declarations", as you probably know) is imho a very cool part of games these days, and I like to see it done properly. Also I'm thoroughly intrigued by an action-oriented, combat-heavy Gumshoe, as the combat rules in ToC left me a bit underwhelmed at first glance, to be honest (though I've *never* played them, so could be completely wrong!).

I'm inclined to look more closely based on your write up - the zombies especially sound cool! :D
spencerpine
Feb. 19th, 2010 06:55 pm (UTC)
The combat rules work really well. They're superb fun and neatly over the top: they let you do interesting, explosive things.

Graham
gbsteve
Feb. 21st, 2010 12:00 am (UTC)
The rules in Esoterrorists were probably more your X-Files vibe so guns weren't so much the focus of the game. With the Factbook, you can really go to town with this kind of thing.

Combat in ToC tends to be, in my experience, horrible. There are no head shots so people get pummeled to death in a rather brutal way. Which may, or may not, match your expectations of a Lovecraftian death but more options would allow the group to play around with this a bit more.
neilf
Feb. 22nd, 2010 01:42 pm (UTC)
It was a partially improvised game so we could spend investigation points to make things be true, such as the presence of a tunnel in some ruins (architecture) or a way of suppressing magical comms interference using Fourier analysis and noise reduction (2 points of electronic surveillance, one of data analysis).

Are suggestions on how to do this written up anywhere? I've tried looking but can't seem to find them and it sounds like a great addition to the Gumshoe rules.

I'm definitely enthused to run some special ops Esoterrorists now.

- Neil.
gbsteve
Feb. 22nd, 2010 03:16 pm (UTC)
The Armitage Files by Robin Laws, as mentioned here and now visible on the IPR website has this stuff in spades, including a short article I wrote on improvised GUMSHOE gaming.
neilf
Feb. 22nd, 2010 09:56 pm (UTC)
Ah! Unfortunately a book I'm unlikely to buy simply because the time period doesn't appeal. Hopefully once the book has been out for some time Simon could be persuaded to release the rules-stuff as a separate product.

- Neil.
gbsteve
Feb. 23rd, 2010 05:51 pm (UTC)
Actually the piece I wrote appeared in See Page XX and it's still there. So you can get my 2p worth, but Robin's other £19.98 (or whatever it costs in the UK) you'd have to shell out.

Edited at 2010-02-24 10:02 am (UTC)
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )